High School Sailing in Southern Maryland
Our high school sailing program allows students from schools throughout southern MD to participate in Varsity and Junior Varsity sailing in the Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA). Middle school students are also encouraged to participate in our practices and some JV competitions. Sailing is an active high school sport in both the spring and fall seasons, running from March to May and from September to November respectively. Any student is welcome to participate in our program, regardless of whether a sailing program exists at their school.
Our teams actively participate in fleet racing and team racing, which are both demanding and satisfying aspects of the sport. Fleet racing could be described as a track race, in which one boat is trying to complete a racecourse faster than all other competitors, while team racing adds an extra dynamic with 3 boats from one team facing off against 3 boats from another team, much like a game in many contact sports. Both of these disciplines require a good knowledge of racing tactics and strategy, as well as a synergy between team members.
video by Ethan Johnson
We get kids sailing every weekday afternoon, to maximize fun and learning on the water!
Practices are held from 3:00PM to 6:30PM Monday-Friday. Our varsity teams practice Mondays and Wednesdays, while JV sailors practice Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Fridays, everyone sails together.
Our Head Coach, Josh Morrison, determines individual sailors’ placement into either the varsity or JV programs. All middle school students will be placed in JV to build their skills.
Students from Leonardtown, Great Mills, and Chopticon high schools, along with several homeschooled students, all practice together, building a camaraderie among our sailors. This makes competitions fun, as we are often our own biggest rivals!
National high school sailing follows this structure:
Maryland and DC Interscholastic Sailing Association (MDISA) – This is our “league”, which most of our competitions take place in. This is your basic, state-level competition that you would see in any high school sport.
Mid-Atlantic Scholastic Sailing Association (MASSA) – This is our “district”, which our varsity teams are eligible to advance to given a sufficient season ranking. MASSA extends from New York to Virginia.
InterScholastic Sailing Association (ISSA) – this is the national governing body and also the highest level of competition in the sport at the high school level, to which we hope to advance one day!
A type 3 PFD (personal floatation device) must be worn at all times while in a boat or on the dock.
Shoes or dinghy boots must be worn at all times.
A dry or wet suit is required whenever the combined air and water temperature is below 120º F or the water temperature is below 60º F.
Sailing gloves are recommended, to protect against blisters and cold weather.
Helmets are optional. Concussions have occurred at practice and regattas.
REGATTA PARTICIPANT SELECTION
Not every sailor is able to attend every regatta. Sailing is a unique sport in that only a small number of team members participate in a single regatta. For each regatta, the expected traveling team size will be 2 skippers and between 2 and 4 crew ( for a 2- division fleet regatta). For team races, a larger team of 3 skippers and 3 crews is selected.
Sailors are selected to attend regattas based on the type of regatta, skill, attitude, availability, attendance at practices, and competitive conditions (weight, etc). This makes it difficult to plan beforehand.
The responsibility for travel arrangements to regattas lies with the sailors and the sailors’ parents.
Parent involvement is crucial to the success of our high school teams. We will need parental help in the areas of fundraising for new equipment, and support at our home regattas and at practices. Parent volunteers are needed at practices for various duties.